This live online English class for middle school students introduces literary devices, story structure, and human purpose within a variety of novels and short stories. It is appropriate for the rising 6th to 8th grader who loves stories and energetic discussion. Our course texts are chosen for their literary value (all texts are either established classics in the literary canon or Newbery Award Winners) and for their expression of characters who encounter authentic, exciting, and meaningful challenges and meet them in an engaging manner. This course features close reading, interpretation, and evaluation of fiction, with attention to authors’ contexts and their creative processes and narrative elements. My priority is to help prepare students for high school level literary analysis. With that in mind, our major goals will be:
– Examining major fiction elements, including: Plot, Setting, Character, Conflict, Symbol, Point of View, Dialogue, Figurative Language, Tone and Imagery.
– Making the “big leap” between story SUMMARY and story ANALYSIS. Once that leap is made, we’ve created the best possible preparation for high-school level work!
– Thesis writing and analysis and descriptive essay structuring. This class is appropriate for the essay “beginner,” as we will develop the building blocks of a strong basic analysis essay in this course.
– While vocabulary retention is important, our goal is to transcend that and truly enjoy interacting with the worlds and character we encounter – and respond with analytic (and creative!) attention.
– Students will have the flexible opportunity to respond with creative projects to some class texts as they develop their own voice and immerse themselves in stories!
Homework will be assigned/due weekly on our course website. Students may view the detailed syllabus at any point to see what is coming up next. I will also send out a weekly homework update email to both students AND parents. Students will read regular posts and activities on the website. One weekly due date for all work allows busy homeschool families to retain their flexible schedule! Weekly activities may include:
– A weekly 50-minute LIVE MEETING.
– Interactive discussion of course texts and concepts in our website forum.
– Reading a portion of a novel OR a single short story.
– Analysis or creative responses through which we will practice evaluation of course concepts and essay structure.
– A mandatory midterm paper OR oral presentation in response to a class text. All longer projects will have multiple “check in points” and be completed over multiple weeks to allow students to feel secure and confident about their “final draft” and help them submit their best work possible!
– Vocabulary extra credit games and other bonus assignments.
Who should enroll?
This class is appropriate for the rising 6th to 8th grader who possesses a love of story and energetic discussion.
- High speed, broadband Internet
- Sound card and microphone (for live sessions)
- Streaming video capabilities to watch recorded lectures
Evaluation and Feedback
Students will receive extensive comments and individualized feedback on their written assignments through our Canvas website. All project instructions include clear rubrics so students may feel confident they understand what is expected; in addition, all longer projects are completed through multiple drafts with instructor feedback each step of the way. Student work is critiqued within 1 week of the due date.
No application is necessary; parents may register directly. I will contact parents as soon as registration has been processed. Homework will be assigned/due weekly on our course website. Students may view the detailed syllabus at any point to see what is coming up next. I will also send out a weekly homework update email to both students AND parents. Students will read regular posts and activities on the website. One weekly due date for all work allows busy homeschool families to retain their flexible schedule!